Rice allergy and intolerance

Rice allergy and intolerance

When you think of food allergy or intolerance, rice isn’t something that automatically comes to mind. However, rice contains proteins, which means it can cause allergies and it can also cause intolerance symptoms. Today we discuss the most common symptoms of rice allergy and intolerance, how you can get tested, what foods to avoid and how you can manage a rice intolerance.


Rice allergy

If you have a rice allergy, even breathing steam coming off cooked rice can cause you to have symptoms. You don’t have to eat rice to react, but you do have to be near it, inhale the steam or touch it for symptoms to occur. 

The main rice allergy symptoms are similar to all other food allergy symptoms:

  • Hives, or red itchy skin rashes that come on quickly
  • Difficulty breathing or asthma symptoms
  • Swelling of face, lips, tongue and airways 
  • Digestive problems, diarrhoea, gut pains, gas
  • Anaphylaxis can also occur if it is a severe allergic reaction. This is life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention. 

Rice Allergy

Management of a rice allergy entails complete avoidance of all rice and rice containing products. A careful reading of labels must be undertaken. If anaphylaxis is likely, you will need to create a management plan with your doctor.

Rice intolerance

Rice is a staple food in many cultures around the world. It is enjoyed as a side dish, main meal and even desserts. However, people with rice intolerance may have difficulty digesting it – leading to digestive issues and other health problems.

Rice intolerance usually occurs when gluten proteins found in some types of grains, such as wheat, are cross-reacted with proteins found in rice. Rice intolerance can manifest itself in different ways – from mild bloating or stomach ache to flu-like symptoms and anaphylactic shock.

People suffering from wheat sensitivity are most likely to experience rice intolerance, so it’s important for them to identify the potential causes of their digestive issues before making any changes or going on a strict gluten-free diet.

This occurs only after you have eaten rice, unlike the allergy, which can occur from touching rice or inhaling the steam of cooking rice. 

Rice intolerance symptoms are inflammatory or digestive in nature.

  • Systemic inflammation that causes anything from stiff joints and achy muscles to headaches can occur. This is a tricky one to pinpoint because the reactions will be different for everyone.
  • Digestive distress, with bloating and pain, can also occur. 
  • Diarrhoea or constipation 
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue after eating rice

Remember also that intolerance symptoms can sometimes be mild symptoms and can take up to 48 hours to manifest. Food intolerances can be difficult to pinpoint.

It is possible to reduce the symptoms of digestive upset caused by eating rice by introducing alternate sources of carbohydrates and protein into one’s diet. This could include oatmeal instead of wheat toast for breakfast; potatoes instead of pasta at lunch; quinoa instead of couscous at dinner; and nuts and yoghurt snacks throughout the day instead of crackers or granola bars. Additionally, some studies have suggested that foods high in zinc – such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and mushrooms – can help reduce the intensity of digestive reactions associated with foods like wheat and rice.

Rice Intolerance

What to do if you suspect you have a rice intolerance.

The first thing that we always recommend to people who suspect they have a food intolerance is getting tested. Our state-of-the-art bio-resonance test is completely non-invasive, with a quick turnaround time. You can expect your results within three days of the lab receiving your small hair sample. You can read more information and order your test HERE. 

We recommend this as the first step because people see such dramatic improvements in their symptoms when using the results from this testing method. It also tests for more than just the food you are concerned about. Our current testing method assesses over 700 food and non-food items that may be causing your body problems. It tests them all in the same procedure. We also have a six-week 100% money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose! 

You can also get tested via a blood draw, but this is obviously much more invasive and can take a lot longer to receive results. 

Another way to assess whether you have a food intolerance is to practice an elimination diet. Eliminate the food for a period, and then slowly reintroduce it. This can give some good results, but it is time-consuming and can be quite frustrating if the problem is not the food you think. We have written an article all about elimination diets; you can access it HERE.


Food Allergies

Foods to avoid if you have a rice allergy or a rice intolerance:

We are assuming here that you have been diagnosed with an allergy or have taken a food intolerance test, and rice is on your list of intolerant foods. The following are the most common places where rice is found. Be sure to avoid them all.

  • All rice crackers and rice cake products
  • Cereal that contains rice. Check all gluten-free products as they often include rice.
  • Rice pasta and noodles
  • Rice flour or anything made with rice flour
  • Rice bread
  • Rice milk
  • Baby foods, check the ingredients
  • Risotto and other rice dishes
  • Also, check all processed and pre-packaged foods, as rice is often used as a thickener. This includes things like long-life milk and even some yoghurt brands.

Are Rice Allergies and Intolerances Common

Rice allergies and intolerances are surprisingly common. In fact, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health in 2011, rice was found to be the third most common food allergy among children after cow’s milk and egg. This is particularly notable when compared to other food sensitivities such as gluten intolerance and peanut allergy which were found to be much less prevalent. Additionally, it has been estimated that up to 4% of the population suffers from some form of rice intolerance which can lead to digestive issues when consuming certain types of grains – even those that do not contain gluten. As with any other food sensitivity or allergy, it is important to seek out professional medical advice for reliable diagnosis before making changes to one’s diet.

Brown Rice

White Rice vs Brown Rice

Brown rice and white rice differ in their nutritional profile and potential food allergy reactions. Brown rice is whole grain, meaning it has more vitamins, minerals and fiber than white rice. However, this can mean that brown rice also contains more of the proteins found in gluten-containing grains, which may trigger a reaction in people with wheat or rice allergies or intolerances. White rice, on the other hand, does not contain these proteins and is therefore generally recommended for those who may be sensitive to them. Additionally, those with gluten sensitivities may find that white rice is easier to digest than brown as it does not contain many of the complex carbohydrates associated with gluten intolerance.

Is It Possible to be Intolerant to Starch

While starch is not technically a type of food allergen, it can cause reactions in some people due to its carbohydrate content. In particular, starch-containing foods such as grains or legumes can lead to digestive symptoms if consumed by those with wheat and/or rice allergies or intolerances because the gluten proteins found in these grains are cross-reacted with the proteins found in the starch. People who suspect that they may have an allergy or intolerance to wheat or rice should avoid consuming these types of foods as much as possible, including starches such as cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato starch and arrowroot.

Allergic Reaction

How to manage rice intolerance

Assuming again that you have received a test result for rice intolerance, here is what you can do to manage it. 

For a period of 12 weeks, avoid rice and all rice-containing foods strictly. This gives your gut a chance to get rid of the inflammation and heal. It is also a great idea to undertake some gut healing work with a naturopath or holistic nutritionist during this time. Not only does this improve your health overall, but it also makes it more likely that you will be able to tolerate some rice when you retest. 

After 12 weeks, you can slowly reintroduce rice. Have a small amount on day 1, and then wait for 3 days before consuming any more. This allows you to see if your body is still reacting to it or perhaps whether you can tolerate it better now. Everyone will respond differently here. The important thing is to take this process slowly and give it enough time before consuming it again to be sure of any symptoms that might be occurring.

Rice Allergy and Intolerance Summary

Rice can seem relatively benign, but in fact, it still contains proteins and therefore can cause both food allergies and food intolerance. We have had a look at the most common symptoms of both and covered what you can do if you suspect you have a rice intolerance. 

There is a handy list of foods that contain rice and guidance on what to do if you get a rice intolerance diagnosis. All hope is not lost, and you may be able to tolerate some rice again after your cleansing period. 

As always, if you suspect you have a rice intolerance, the first step is to get yourself tested. You can order your test HERE today and be on the road to recovery within 3 days of your sample being received at the lab. Please don’t delay; we want to see you getting better right away!


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